British His Master's Voice Values

this page first published by John Wright, 5 Dec 1997
last update 14 Mar 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

Note: values quoted are typical prices paid at a record fair stall where the stall-holder knows the demand for music and records.

Usually the most commonly found record label in a 78rpm collection, HMV sold millions of records and many of the popular bands or artistes sold thousands, even hundreds of thousands of certain titles.
The His Master's Voice label has been around for about 90 years and on it you can find just about any kind of music. You'll find mostly 10" records from the 1910's to the 1950's with the 'dog and horn' picture on labels that were plum/maroon/red in colour. The vast majority of these discs are not valuable and sell for 1 or under at record fairs, but there are exceptions depending on age and the type of music.
Popular music was mainly issued in the B seriesand BD series. The catalogue numbering is often a guide to age but isn't always chronological.

Regarding types of popular music, among collectors jazzy tunes are more popular than waltzes or strings-only dance music. Similarly with singers, the popular film and show tunes are sought after more than the ballads. Some dance bands on HMV are favourites with many collectors, particularly Ray Noble, Ambrose, Savoy Orpheans, Paul Whiteman, Jean Goldkette. Jazz is rarely found on early HMV but after 1935 there was a lot of jazz and big band records issued including 're-issue' of many American 1920's bands.

For example:

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Cat. No.Band or
Artiste
Issue
Date
Typical
Value
Comments
B.260 Metropolitan Orchestra19132.00an American studio orchestra
B.962 Savoy Quartet19184.00late ragtime songs
B.1991Paul Whiteman Orch19250.50an American band but very common waltz music
B.2189Jack Hylton Orch19252.00lively dance titles
B.2736Johnny Marvin19272.00popular American singer with lively accompaniment
B.2871Jack Smith19283.00a lot of people like this singer, and the accompaniment is hot/jazzy on one side
B.3008Gracie Fields19290.50a lot of people like Gracie but this record is common
B.4001New Mayfair Novelty Orchestra, Noel Coward19324.00the orchestra side is hot/jazzy and features a much sought after vocalist, Al Bowlly
B.4871Connie's Inn Orchestra19325.00this is REAL jazz from USA, actually the Fletcher Henderson Orch
B.5017Savoy Orpheans19262.00this very good 20's band is very popular with collectors
B.5021Kit-Cat Band19260.50again waltzes
B.5173Fred Hamm Orch
Johnny Hamp Orch
19264.00lively dance titles,
American bands
B.5321Jack Hylton Orch19270.50dull dance titles
B.5385Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight192750.00genuine New Orleans jazz
B.5417Thomas Waller192710.00again this is real jazz, 'Fats' Waller
B.5471Paul Whiteman Orch19282.00with the added attraction of Bing Crosby vocals and the prescence of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke but this record sold lots
B.5509Paul Whiteman Orch192850.00yes it's Paul Whiteman again but this record is a rare one, Bix and Bing again
B.5786Jack Hylton Orch19303.00yes it's Jack Hylton again but one title is a hot/jazzy dance tune
B.5909Ambrose and his Orch19304.00another top British band's jazzy offerings
B.6066Duke Ellington Orch19315.00classic Cotton Club music
B.6482Ray Noble Orch19342.00another Al Bowlly vocal, but very common
B.8504Benny Goodman Orch19361.00common big band titles
B.8906Artie Shaw Orch19381.00common big band titles
B.9221Jelly Roll Morton19404.00jazz, re-issue of titles recorded back in 1928
B.10662Glenn Miller1944?1.00common big band titles
BD.292Fats Waller19352.00common jazz titles
BD.5047Ray Noble Orch19364.00recorded in US,
Al Bowlly vocals
BD.5256Jack Hylton Orch19372.00female vocals
BD.5665Tommy Dorsey Orch19404.00with Frank Sinatra
.....

These records are only examples of what kind of values are put on HMV popular vocal, dance and jazz records, there will be some records by the same artistes worth more or less, depends on the quality of the music and on how many copies of the records were sold.

There is also a lot of popular music on 12" records, the C series. For example:

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Cat. No.Band or
Artiste
Issue
Date
Typical
Value
Comments
C.399 Murray's Ragtime Trio19155.00popular ragtime sound
C.1395Paul Whiteman Orch, with George Gershwin19242.00historical recording, but quite common
C.1252Savoy Orpheans19261.00a top '20's band, but dull stuff
C.1505Paul Whiteman Orch19281.00although Bix is on one side, Paul Robeson on the other, this record is very common
C.2939Bunny Berigan Orch19371.00well-known jazz record, but very common
C.3231Artie Shaw Orch19402.00big band
.....


Many people collect opera records from the early 20th century, e.g. Enrico Caruso, Chaliapin, John McCormack, Amelitia Galli-Curci, Alma Gluck etc and these appear with HMV labels in various colours and series, and the earlier issues were one-sided i.e. just one title.
For example:

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Cat.No.Label ColourArtisteTypical ValueComments
GC.7-52003*pinkEnrico Caruso10.001909 issue
7-52053redGiovanni Martinelli4.001913 issue
7-52061redJohn McCormack6.001914 issue
7-54006yellowCaruso and Gluck10.001914 issue
D.A.1303bright redEnrico Caruso0.50very common, double-sided, dubbed 1930's re-issues

* Note: this is a GRAMOPHONE CONCERT record, pre 1910 but has the 'dog and horn' picture on the label.

I would welcome any correction to the opera table, I have the records but am guessing a little on issue dates and values.

HMV records of classical music of 1910-1950 are also common in 10" and 12" form. Orchestral and instrumental (pianists etc) are mostly worthless but some special historic items are sought after. There was a D Seriesand an E Series of black label HMV records, which included all kinds of music, except dance music. So you'll find a lot of classical music, stars of the stage, poets, politicians. Later came the Red DA- and DB- classical series. For example:

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Cat. No.Band or
Artiste
Issue
Date
Typical
Value
Comments
D 83Irene Scharrer
(piano)
19193.00.
D 1195Beatrice Harrison
('cello)
19273.00.
D 1249Blech
cond. Berlin S.O.O.
19271.50.
D 1816Stokowski
cond. Phil O.
19301.00.
E 151W.H.Squire
('cello)
19200.50.
DA 1003Menuhin
(violin)
19290.50.
DB 1039Casals
('cello)
19272.00.
DB 1916Rubenstein
(piano)
?0.50.
DB8586 to 8589
4 disc set
Menuhin
(violin)
?5.00.
C 3308Solomon
(piano)
19421.50.


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